While we have been choosing the performance of the week during the football season, Jared Larson and I will be leaving it up to you to choose the best Cyclone performance for basketball season! This time, Southern Miss.
The Cyclones have crossed paths with Golden Eagles thrice all-time, with Iowa State taking all three games by just a combined five points. Another fun fact about these 3 matchups: only one game has not been played at a neutral site, including the first matchup in 1984.
December 15th, 1984: Cyclones Edge Southern Miss, 73-72
The 1984 team is truly one of the more historic teams in Cyclone basketball history. This team features ISU’s all-time leading scorer (who is also top-five in both steals and rebounds as well) in Jeff Grayer, the all-time leader in assists and steals in Jeff Hornacek, a 2,000 point scorer Barry Stevens, and more notable players like Sam Hill and Gary Thompkins. While this team did not bring home any championships, they did break a 41 year NCAA Tournament appearance drought.
Their first chance at any championship would be just a small tournament, but a championship nonetheless. The Cyclones competed in the Volunteer Classic in hosted by the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The Cyclones dropped the first game of the tournament to the 11th-ranked Hokies of Virginia Tech, and found themselves playing in a 3rd place game against - you guessed it - Southern Mississippi. The Cyclones had a rough first half, trailing 40-35 at the break. Barry Stevens helped Iowa State get off to a hot start in the second half, scoring 18 of his 24 points, and the Cyclones would stay ahead to come away with the victory, 73-72.
December 15th, 1988: Cyclones Wow Japanese Crowd in 74-72 Victory over Southern Miss
Yes, you read that right, the Cyclones and Golden Eagles once faced in Tokyo, Japan for Phenix Ball tournament. While this team was not as star studded as the ‘84 team, this was still one of Johnny Orr’s better teams, making an NCAA Tournament appearance for the 4th time in 5 seasons.
While there is not much data from this game aside from the boxscore, the Cyclones made five key free throws in the final minute to break the 69-69 (Nice.) tie, to get the win 74-72. The team was led by three 15-point scorers: Sam Mack, tournament MVP Elmer Robinson, and Victor Alexander.
December 2nd, 2000: Jamaal Tinsley Carries Cyclones Passed Golden Eagles in 69-67 Win
Coming off the biggest what-if season in Iowa State basketball history and an Elite 8 appearance, the Cyclones looked to win an early tune-up tournament at the Cyclone Challenge held at Hilton Coliseum. Southern Miss would be the only team in the way of Iowa State keeping the championship in Ames.
After an uneventful first half that saw the Cyclones get off to a rough start, Jamaal Tinsley did what an All-American does and put the team on his back. There was even a stretch where Tinsley nailed a 3, blocked the ensuing shot, corralled the loose ball, and took it coast to coast. Freshman guard Jake Sullivan was amazed by Tinsley’s second half effort, “He’s unreal,” said Sullivan. Tinsley would finish the game with 21 points (15 in the second half), five assists, four rebounds, three steals, and a block after being benched for six minutes early in the first half to lead the Cyclones over Southern Miss, 69-67 (Nice.).
Which player had the Best Cyclone Performance?
This poll is closed
Barry Stevens: 24 points (1984)
Jeff Hornacek: 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists (1984)
Sam Mack: 15 points and 10 rebounds (1988)
Elmer Robinson: 15 points and 9 rebounds (1988)
Victor Alexander: 15 points and 7 rebounds
Jamaal Tinsley: 21 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and 1 block (2000)